A beluga whale stranded for days in the Seine was removed from French waterways on Wednesday to prepare to be moved to a saltwater basin in Normandy in the hope of saving its life.
Conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted on Twitter, saying veterinary checks were carried out after the beluga was brought out of the water after hours of preparation.
The beluga is a non-contagious male, the team said, and veterinarians will try to re-stimulate the marine mammal’s digestive process. Conservationists have been trying unsuccessfully since Friday to feed the beluga.
Photos posted by Sea Shepherd France show the white mammal resting on a large net used to get it out of a lock.
According to Lamya Essemlali, president of Sea Shepherd France, a veterinary team planned to transport the 4-meter-long whale to a coastal point in the northeastern French port town of Ouistreham for “care for a while.” .
Sophisticated transportation was accomplished via a refrigerated truck for the roughly 160-kilometer trip.
Authorities planned to keep the whale in its makeshift saltwater home for two to three days of monitoring and treatment before being towed out to sea.
The lost beluga river was first seen in France’s river, far from its Arctic habitat, last week. It weighs about 800 kg.
Authorities said that while the move carried the risk of death from the stress of the animal, the whale could not have survived longer in the freshwater habitat of the Seine.
They still hope it will survive after it reacted with an antibiotic and vitamin injected over the past few days and rubbed itself against the wall of the padlock to remove plaque on its back.